Difficult callers are something you can’t avoid. They feel entitled to the best customer service possible and feel like they can never be wrong when they are in a situation. They may shout, make demands or ramble and keep you on the phone too long.
When you run into a rude customer or someone that doesn’t have proper phone etiquette, you have to learn ways to overcome these situations in order to keep your day going and not be held up or stalled by a difficult customer.
Whether they want to talk your ear off or they want to blame you for their problems, there is a solution for any type of caller you run into. Here is a look at 4 types of difficult customers and how you should deal with them in order to be productive and successful at your job.
The Angry Customer
When you run into an angry customer that is making demands and telling you they’ve had enough, you need to diffuse the situation. They may ask to speak to your supervisor, but many times you may be able to fix the situation before passing them on to a manager or owner. Most superiors would prefer for you to handle the situation before involving them if possible.
Before passing on the customer to a superior, find out exactly what type of resolution they are looking for. Understand what the situation was that led them to be so angry and make demands. Many times a customer wants to vent about their situation, feel heard, have you apologize for it and then find a resolution. Be willing to walk through each of these steps.
When you have a shouting caller, whether it’s due to their package never arriving or their expensive new purchase not living up to what it’s supposed to be, you need to first remember to remain calm. You are not authorized to get angry at your customer and you need to remember that they are the one suffering for the situation.
All they are really trying to say is that they are frustrated with your company, rather than you personally, and want you to help them correct the problem. Remember that they spent their hard earned money on something and aren’t getting what they paid for. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes when dealing with them.
After you remember not to show anger back to your customer, the next move is to start with phrases like “I would like to help you but it’s difficult to do so when you are shouting. Would you mind talking to me in a calm manner so that I can better assist you going forward?“ or “I understand why you are frustrated but if we could proceed in a calmer tone, I could better assist you.” Be firm with your caller and make sure they know you are only going to help them if they calm down, whether that be taking a deep breath or calling back shortly.
The mad customer may be the worst type to deal with, but they are not the only type.
Watch out for a caller that likes to ramble. They may have a thousand questions to ask or they want to tell you all about their life, family and personal details. Typically this type of customer is not rude, angry or frustrated; they simply want their questions answered or they want someone to talk to. The problem with this is that they can cost you time, and in turn, money.
When you run into someone like this that wants to keep talking and asking questions, use phrases like “I don’t want to take up any more of your time” or “before we end our conversation, one more thing I wanted to tell you…” These types of phrases will indicate that the conversation is wrapping up. Sometimes letting your customer know that you will email them with updates or contact them at a later date after you’ve handled their problem will help get them off the phone.
Questioning Your Authority
When your caller is constantly asking to speak to your superior, they don’t trust that you can truly handle the problem. Many times this happens because they didn’t get sufficient help in the past or they want to get straight to the point.
The best thing you can do is let your customer know that it is not possible to speak to a superior right now but you are more than qualified to handle the dispute. Make sure you are very polite in your response and advise your customer that your job is to help them and that is what you desire to do. Be sure to clarify that you know how to handle these types of problems and you are the right person to speak to.
Sometimes your caller will demand a refund when any type of issue comes up. While sometimes a refund makes sense, other times, your customer will demand one for something that isn’t justified. Perhaps your customer broke their new phone that they purchased from you or the product they ordered came in a different shade of blue than was expected.
When situations like these come up, it’s important to remind your customer what the refund policy is exactly and how they’ve already been advised of this during their initial purchase. Try to offer something else, like a discount voucher and remind your customer that it is not within your policy to issue refunds for something that is not the company’s mistake. Apologize and let your caller know that you cannot take responsibility for a mistake the customer made.
There are many different types of callers you may end up dealing with. Make sure you are always polite and consider these tips when dealing with difficult callers like these.